Russian oligarch Andrey Kovalev criticized Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and its consequences for Russia.
In a video shared by Kovalev on his Telegram channel on Monday, the businessman said he was initially hopeful that Russian troops would break through Ukraine’s defenses and quickly capture Kyiv in two to three weeks. Surprised it wasn’t.
Kovalev pointed to the heavy losses Russia has suffered since the invasion of Ukraine, the withdrawal of Russian troops from the positions they reached at the start of the war, the humiliating sinking of the Russian warship Moskva last April, and the explosion of the connecting bridge. annexation of Crimea to Russian territory and the recent alleged drone strike on the Kremlin.
“This is not a special military operation, this is a terrible war,” Kovalev said during a live broadcast to the All-Russian Entrepreneurial Movement.
“The whole world is against us. One hundred and twenty-two countries voted to recognize us as aggressors,” he added, referring to a resolution passed by the United Nations General Assembly last month. The resolution, which called the war against Ukraine an “aggression by the Russian Federation,” received 122 votes, including China and India, two countries that abstained from condemning the large-scale invasion of Moscow.
In another pre-recorded video on his Telegram channel, Kovalev softened his tone and suggested that President Vladimir Putin should “call in the services of sovereign entrepreneurs” to “ensure victory in the war”.
Andrei Kovalev is a Russian real estate entrepreneur, public figure and leader of the All-Russian Entrepreneurial Movement. According to his biography on the movement’s website, he previously held government positions and was a member of the Moscow Duma. In 2012, Kovalev was included in Forbes Russia’s “Russian Real Estate King List”, with an income of US$55 million.
Are the critics increasing? Alternative voices have no place in Russia. Putin’s tight grip on the Russian news space prevents many citizens from accessing accurate reports about the invasion of Ukraine. Those who try to speak out face long prison terms or worse.
But there are signs of growing dissatisfaction among some Russians with how the faltering invasion has turned out. Kovalev’s words echo those of legendary Russian pop star Alla Pugacheva, who in September called for an end to Russian soldiers “dying for illusory goals that make our country a pariah.”
Kovale’s criticism comes ahead of Moscow’s Victory Day parade, an annual event on May 9 marking the anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945 and which in recent years has been used to tout Russia’s military might.